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Some fans believe that Trae Waynes finally took the big step in 2018 and surpassed Xavier Rhodes as the teams top corner. Did he improve? Absolutely! But let’s take a step back. He’ll have to string together consecutive seasons to earn that title. Rhodes will likely continue to cover opposing teams’ #1 target, while Waynes continues to shadow the #2. Let’s take a look at his perceived match-ups for this upcoming season.

 

Week 1: Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta Falcons)

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Image result for mohamed sanu falcons

2018 Stats (16 Games)

66 Receptions, 838 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

If Calvin Ridley has a strong training camp/preseason he could very well be the guy Waynes will face for a majority of week 1, but for now the perception is that Mohamed Sanu will still be the guy. He won’t blow anyone away with speed but he’s been a reliable #2 option for Matt Ryan for the past three seasons. At 6’2″, 210 pounds, he could prove to be a strong physical match-up for Waynes to open up the season.

Week 2: Equanimeous St. Brown (Green Bay Packers)

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2018 Stats (12 Games)

21 Receptions, 328 Yards, 0 Touchdowns

The WR2 spot for the Packers is up for grabs right now with Randall Cobb now gone. Equanimeous St. Brown appears to be the front runner heading into training camp. The 6’5″, 215-pound speedster is a good physical match-up for Trae Waynes. Waynes has posted some of his best PFF grades against the Packers in the past.

Week 3: Tyrell Williams (Oakland Raiders)

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2018 Stats (16 Games)

41 Receptions, 653 Yards, 5 Touchdowns

The 6’4″ wideout moved to northern California this past spring to join his former division-rival Raiders. Tyrell Williams is a perfect fit with a quarterback like Derek Carr who likes to test his arm-strength. Williams wins most of his battles downfield and will likely prove to be one of Trae Waynes’ tough match-ups throughout the 2019 season.

Week 4: Anthony Miller (Chicago Bears)

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2018 Stats (15 Games)

33 Receptions, 423 Yards, 7 Touchdowns

If you follow any Bears fans, i’m sure you’ve more than likely seen them rave about Anthony Miller. Taylor Gabriel was WR2 for the Bears in 2018, but based off of what we saw last year and the expectation set for Miller heading into training camp, it looks like he’s primed to steal that spot from Gabriel. With 7 touchdowns in his rookie season, you can see why…

Week 5: Sterling Shepard (New York Giants)

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2018 Stats (16 Games)

66 Receptions, 872 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

Back-to-back elite runner match-ups in weeks 4 & 5 for Trae Waynes. Shepard has proved to be a very strong security blanket for Eli Manning in his first three seasons with the team, but with Odell Beckham Jr. now gone Shepard will have his own chance to prove he can be a #1. Expect Pat Shurmur to move Golden Tate & Sterling Shepard around to create mismatches on the field.

Week 6: DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles)

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2018 Stats (12 Games)

41 Receptions, 774 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

I love, love, love this match-up for Trae Waynes. Speed vs. speed. DeSean Jackson is back where he started his career and he’ll be provide a deep-threat option that Carson Wentz has not been provided with yet in his career. Alshon Jeffery makes his gold in the intermediate/short levels of the field and Nelson Agholor is the slot weapon. Wentz finally has a full arsenal the Vikings defensive backs better bring their A-game for this one.

Week 7: Marvin Jones (Detroit Lions)

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2018 Stats (9 Games)

35 Receptions, 508 Yards, 5 Touchdowns

Marvin Jones missed about half of the 2018 season and in his absence Kenny Golladay emerged into my opinion, the teams primary WR1. That’s not diminishing what Jones is or what he’s done in the past. He could still easily be Trae Waynes’ toughest match-up in 2019.

Week 8: Paul Richardson (Washington Redskins)

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2018 Stats (7 Games)

20 Receptions, 262 Yards, 2 Touchdowns

Paul Richardson missed a good majority of his first season with the Redskins. This is another very good physical match-up for Trae Waynes. They are almost equal in size/weight and both possess elite speed. As I’ve stated already in the past though…we have no idea who will be throwing him the pigskin come week 8.

Week 9: Demarcus Robinson (Kansas City Chiefs)

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2018 Stats (16 Games)

22 Receptions, 288 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

The wide receiver match-up isn’t the concern for this week…it’s the quarterback. Much like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, etc…even if you’re  “below-average” wide receiver, a guy like Patrick Mahomes will make you great. Waynes is generally very sticky in coverage but sometimes when you face elite quarterbacks like Mahomes it’s still not enough. This will be a fun test for not only Waynes, but the Vikings defense in general.

Week 10: Michael Gallup (Dallas Cowboys)

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2018 Stats (16 Games)

33 Receptions, 507 Yards, 2 Touchdowns

Expect Michael Gallup to have a steady line of improvement off of his rookie season with the Cowboys. Another detailed route-runner for Trae Waynes to face.

Week 11: Emmanuel Sanders (Denver Broncos)

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2018 Stats (12 Games)

71 Receptions, 868 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

Emmanuel Sanders likes to stretch the field with his speed and he definitely missed a quarterback with a strong arm last season. That’s something Joe Flacco does not lack. I expect Trae Waynes to take most of the reps against Sanders, as Xavier Rhodes will be trying to stop the 6’4″, Courtland Sutton on the opposite end. These are two good physical match-ups for the Minnesota corners.

Week 12: Bye Week

 

Week 13: Tyler Lockett (Seattle Seahawks)

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2018 Stats (16 Games)

57 Receptions, 965 Yards, 10 Touchdowns

Everyone will have different opinions on this topic, but from my perspective Tyler Lockett will be Trae Waynes’ toughest match-up in 2019. Xavier Rhodes may very well shadow Lockett as well but with the addition of rookie wideout DK Metcalf, his physicality may require more attention from Rhodes. Lockett was one of PFF’s highest graded wide receivers in 2018.

Week 14: Marvin Jones (Detroit Lions)

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Week 15: Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers)

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2018 Stats (16 Games)

43 Receptions, 664 Yards, 10 Touchdowns

Mike Williams (low-key) broke-out for the Chargers in 2018, scoring 10 touchdowns in his first full season as a starter. Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes will have their hands full in this match-up as they face one of the best wide receiver duos in football. Having a veteran like Philip Rivers is always nice to have too.

Week 16: Equanimeous St. Brown (Green Bay Packers)

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Week 17: Anthony Miller (Chicago Bears)

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Trae Waynes faces a season full of speedsters and detailed route-runners. Which match-up are you most looking forward watching in this upcoming season?

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